• Nicki

Why recruiters have a bad rap

Recruiters get a bad rap. Even from us HR folk. Some of that is on them (sorry guys). The repetitive and aggressive sales tactics, the crazy % commission amounts, the fact that they so often give zero shits about the candidate. Now, not all recruiters or agencies operate like this, but enough do to ensure that their reputation as 'used car salesmen-like swindlers' oftens follows them around like a lost puppy trying to get home.

I understand why some businesses choose not to go external for their recruiting requirements. Usually it comes down to the moolah. They simply can't afford the exorbitant fees that some agencies charge. Maybe they have their own in house recruitment team, dedicated to making sure that your talent pipeline is in tip top shape. A lot of the time, businesses decide that they are able to manage recruitment without any specialist support, and much of the time they are right.

It's important to remember though, that GOOD recruiters have usually studied HR and recruitment, are active in the local talent community, and have a handle on things like market conditions, salary guides, candidate expectations and competition. These recruiters are worth their weight in gold given that they can save you time, money and heartache, and get the best candidates bum on your seat in the least amount of time. So don't write off recruiters in general..... Just take some time to search and find someone that clicks with you, understands your business, and has a fee structure that doesn't give you a heart attack.

I have to make a confession.......

5 years ago I talked a lot of smack about recruiters from agencies. You see, I was a HR professional who recruited as a part of my role.... Not like those vultures praying upon poor business owners & HR reps innocently advertising roles on Seek and in turn getting a multitude of calls from recruiters desperate to give you a candidate (and take your money). 'Nothing but glorified telephone sales-folk', I would say whilst instructing our receptionist to redirect their calls elsewhere. 'I don't need their help, and I certainly don't need to pay 18% of my candidates salary to find them'. I never used agency recruiting, and in turn did 100% of the recruiting for the companies that I worked for.

Then something happened. I got busy. Really busy. And I didn't have time to do everything, so I conceded that I would need to talk to some recruiters to help me with my recruitment needs. I spoke to many different agencies and many different consultants, and what I realised was that they knew more than I knew about the job market, the candidate expectations, the competition and the pros and cons of different candidate types. Whoops. My bad. Didn't mean it guys, no hard feelings right?

I developed some great relationships with some awesome agencies that reflected the values that were important to me (treating candidates compassionately, affordable fee structures, understanding of my limited time etc) and, well, by doing my own recruitment and sharing it with my trusted connections, I began having more and more success in placing wonderful candidates.

I still don't work with agencies that obsessively hound me with daily calls, emails and texts. I still don't work with agencies that have high and rigid fee structures that don't take into about the variances in roles and effort required. I still don't work with agencies that treat their candidates like dirt (trust me, the candidates talk). I still don't work with agencies that make me feel like another notch towards their quarterly sales incentive.

I do work with compassionate, talented and understanding agencies like TalentPath, Optimum Consulting and Appoint Recruit. I understand the value. I see the results. I feel really bad about calling them blood sucking leeches.

I also offer recruitment now as part of my service offering, but I do it differently, taking the good from the wonderful recruiters I've met, and making sure I avoid the bad, you know, used car salesperson bad stuff. Recruitment isn't the lifeblood of my business, but it's an important foundation because excellent people and culture starts with having the right people, so I want to get some skin in the game to help businesses avoid issues later.

I hope recruiters everywhere can forgive my ignorance. (This does not apply to the bad ones. Work on yo selves.)

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